The Anxious Perfectionist
How to Manage Perfectionism-Driven Anxiety Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Published by: New Harbinger Publications
Imprint: New Harbinger Publications
Is your perfectionism causing you anxiety, stress, and worry?
If you identify as a perfectionist, you may not see your perfectionism as a problem. But striving for unrealistic standards, basing your self-worth on meeting those standards, and engaging in persistent self-criticism will ultimately lead to anxiety, stress, worry, burnout, and unhappiness. So, how can you distinguish between “helpful” and “hurtful” perfectionism and stop holding yourself and others to unrealistically high standards?
Written by two clinical psychologists, The Anxious Perfectionist shines a much-needed light on the hidden costs of “being the best,” and offers essential skills based in acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) to help you cope with the anxiety that is driven by your perfectionism. You’ll learn how your “need to be perfect” can actually hinder your productivity, and keep you from reaching your goals. You’ll also learn skills to help you gain distance from negative self-talk and criticism, let go of unhelpful and self-limiting labels such as “success” or “failure,” and give yourself and others permission to make mistakes while still honoring your high aspirations.
If you’re struggling with feelings of anxiety and stress, and suspect your perfectionism may be to blame, this guide will show you how to stop getting in the way of your own success, and live a life guided by your deepest values.
“This eminently readable and relatable book illuminates the path to freedom for those on a quixotic quest for perfectionism. The authors guide the reader in understanding how perfectionism fails as a formula for living one’s life, and endorse action consistent with values rather than feelings. So, if you or a loved one have perfectionism, or you provide care for those who do, this is without question a ‘must-have’ for your library.”~Nancy Keuthen, PhD
—Nancy Keuthen, PhD, associate professor at Harvard Medical School; and chief psychologist at the Center for OCD and Related Disorders at Massachusetts General Hospital
“While perfectionism may promise you achievement and satisfaction, it instead leaves you strung out, unfulfilled, and never feeling ‘good enough.’ Built on a bedrock of what their research has shown to work, Clarissa Ong and Mike Twohig have written a warm, engaging, and practical guide to unwinding the binds of perfectionism. Follow in their footsteps to experience the freedom of living your life more flexibly and with greater compassion for imperfection.”~Jennifer Kemp, MPsych
—Jennifer Kemp, MPsych, clinical psychologist, and author of The ACT Workbook for Perfectionism
“If you want to be more fully the person you actually want to be, not just the person your perfectionism says you should be, then this book will help. Using research-based strategies, it will help you become clearer on what you want your life to be about, overcome procrastination and rumination, and be kinder to yourself while also staying engaged and effective in life and relationships.”~Jason Luoma, PhD
—Jason Luoma, PhD, CEO at Portland Psychotherapy, shame and compassion researcher, and coauthor of Learning ACT and Values in Therapy
“Anxious perfectionism is a trap that can lead to surprising problems. Whether you are perfectionistic yourself, or have a perfectionist in your life, you don’t want to miss this book! Clarissa Ong and Michael Twohig unpack perfectionism with relatable examples, humor, and deep understanding of its complexity. You’ll learn how to be kinder toward yourself, get out of the anxiety-perfectionism cycle, and reconnect with what matters most in your life.”~Debbie Sorensen, PhD
—Debbie Sorensen, PhD, coauthor of ACT Daily Journal, and cohost of the Psychologists Off the Clock podcast
“Have you ever heard the saying, ‘Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good,’ but struggled to find a way to put it into practice? Let this book be your (imperfect) guide. Clarissa Ong and Michael Twohig offer people suffering from maladaptive perfectionism an evidence-based model for letting go of the habits that tyrannize them, and giving themselves permission to be human.”~Matthew S. Boone, LCSW
—Matthew S. Boone, LCSW, peer-reviewed acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) trainer, and coauthor of Stop Avoiding Stuff
“Carissa Ong and Michael Twohig have written a must-read book on overcoming the dark side of perfectionism: anxiety, worry, self-torture, and inaction. I am familiar with all of these states, and probably would have finished my education a year earlier if I had read this book. The authors take the reader on a journey that shows them what harmful perfectionism is, and how to overcome it and embrace the value of each moment.”~Joseph Ciarrochi
—Joseph Ciarrochi, renowned scientist, author, and coauthor of What Makes You Stronger
“Perfectionism is, at its core, an anxiety-based problem, in that perfectionists are anxious about coming up short, making mistakes, or even failing completely. Written by two internationally respected experts, The Anxious Perfectionist will teach you how to move past perfectionism though acceptance, mindfulness, self-compassion, and living life to the fullest. The book is filled with powerful methods for giving up the need for constant control and living a values-driven life based on what matters most to you. Everyone who struggles with perfectionism and anxiety should read this book!”~Martin M. Antony, PhD, ABPP
—Martin M. Antony, PhD, ABPP, professor in the department of psychology at Ryerson University in Toronto, ON, Canada; and coauthor of When Perfect Isn’t Good Enough and The Anti-Anxiety Program
“The old way was to tell people to ‘stop and let go of those perfectionistic behaviors.’ The new way is to acknowledge the challenge, difficulties, and struggles that come with perfectionism, and to compassionately teach skills that—one by one—lead a person to live a rich and peaceful life. In this book, Ong and Twohig, in a very real, compassionate, and skillful way, show their deep understanding of how the fear of messing things up, anxiety, search for perfection, urges to keep yourself busy, struggles with uncertainty, and not-good-enough stories interact with one another behind all perfectionistic behaviors. This is a perfect book for those prone to perfectionism! If you wonder how you can achieve more without losing yourself, then make sure to read this book! This book will help you to find your way in this imperfect, unpredictable, and uncertain life!”~Patricia E. Zurita Ona, PsyD
—Patricia E. Zurita Ona, PsyD, author of Acceptance and Commitment Skills for PerfectionismandHigh-Achieving Behaviors and Living Beyond OCD Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy